May 25, 2018
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Google finds more about great-great-great-grandmother

By Roxanne Moore Saucier, BDN Columnist

What was written about Mary Abigail (Payne) Bray Jenks, she wrote herself. As possibly the first women’s police matron in Rhode Island beginning in 1893, Dr. Mary A. Jenks went on to write and publish “Behind the Bars,” the 1902 story of her work for the project started by the Women’s Christian Temperance Union.

I cherish the little volume with quotes such as, “I believe there is a place for everyone in the great scheme of this world, and that God has given us power and talents, and placed us here to be workmen, and that we have a work to do that will not be done at all unless it is done by us.”

Beyond this book and a couple of pages of family history, I didn’t expect to find anything new from the pen of my great-great-great-grandmother.

Then I asked Google. I went to and entered “Dr. Mary A. Jenks,” which is how she listed herself as author.

The fifth item offered by Google happened to be from, a most useful website.

The book is “Annual reports for ten months ending Sept. 30, 1896” for Pawtucket, R.I.

It includes Dr. Mary A. Jenks’ report as supervisor of female prisoners, which adds to what I already have in the book she wrote. It starts off:

“Looking back over the labors of the past ten months I find the number of female arrests to be 86. There have been 43 lost children cared for until claimed by their friends. My work has been on the same lines as in the three past years attending to all female prisoners, lodgers, demented or insane persons of both sexes, lost children, young boys who are brought in for some offense, runaways, either girls or boys, the aged and infirm, feeble minded, deserted wives, abandoned helpless children seek shelter, sympathy or aid from the Matron. I turn a deaf ear or cold shoulder to none, but in my line of duty endeavor to lend a helping hand, if only in sympathy and advice.”

She also wrote about keeping track of the coffee, food, medicine and clothing used to help those in need, adding that if bedding or towels wore out, she simply made new ones.

Responsibility rested heavy on her at times, but “the chief captain and sergeant under whose supervision I labor have been patient and forbearing, always ready to tide me over the rough places by overlooking my faults or lessening my cares.”

What a treasure to add these paragraphs to her published volume, and to be able send them along to my family and cousins who I know will be glad to have a little more about Mary Jenks.

Google, ya done good.

Many of the books I use for Family Ties get carried back and forth between home and work. A few books I absolutely need copies of in both places, such as the 1790 Maine Census, Attwood’s “Length and Breadth of Maine” and “Genealogical Dictionary of Maine and New Hampshire” by Noyes, Libby, Davis.

On Saturday I purchased a second copy of “A Centeseptquinary History of Abbot, Maine 1827-2002” from the Abbot Historical Society so I could have copies in both places.

Then, too, having two copies means there will be one to pass on to both of my children.

So how do I explain eight copies of “Indians in Eden,” by Bunny McBride and Harald E.L. Prins? Subtitled “Wabanakis and Rusticators on Maine’s Mount Desert Island, 1840s-1920s.” It’s just a good book.

It’s true I bought four copies last year so I could give one each to my grandchildren who are part Penobscot and are descended from Frank “Chief Big Thunder” Loring: Lexi, Andrew and Dylan, plus their cousin Lilly.

Recently I ordered more copies from BookMarc’s because I have a new grandchild, Emilee Anne. And now I’ve started giving the book to other branches of the Phillips family so they can pass on a copy.

While I was ordering books, which I like to do in person so I can browse at the same time, I purchased Donna M. Loring’s “In the Shadow of the Eagle: A Tribal Representative in Maine.”

Since she is also a descendant of Frank Loring of Indian Island and has served in the Maine Legislature, I’m hoping this fine book will be the subject of book reports for my grandchildren when they are old enough.

For the second year The Game Loft, a community-based organization of Spurwink Services in Belfast, has been chosen to participate in a living history event Aug. 27-28 at Kings Landing Historical Settlement in New Brunswick.

Six students from The Game Loft will travel to Kings Landing to be part of its annual Pauper Auction. The youth, chosen because of their combination of role-play skills and The Game Loft’s experiential history curriculum, will portray 19th century people including paupers who were sold at auction to provide their keep.

Kings Landing Historical Settlement in Fredericton is an award-winning attraction that depicts the 100-year transformation of a young colony into a vibrant nation. With more than 70 historic buildings complete with artifacts, furniture, tools and equipment, Kings Landing is a living history village where guests are immersed in the sights, sounds and colors of the times.

Kings Landing Historical Settlement is located on the Trans Canada Highway, Route 2, Exit 253. Tours of the village are self-guided, with a map and orientation information provided on arrival. Kings Landing is open daily until Oct. 10. For information, call 506-363-4999 or visit

Send genealogy queries to Family Ties, Bangor Daily News, P.O. Box 1329, Bangor, ME 04402; or email queries to

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